Russia says US visa delays could halt direct flights

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MOSCOW (AP) – The Russian Foreign Ministry says increasing delays by the United States in issuing visas could result in flagship airline Aeroflot ending flights to the U.S.

State-owned Aeroflot is the only airline with scheduled year-round U.S. flights.

A ministry statement Thursday complained that the waiting time for interviews for U.S. visa applicants has stretched to 250 days. “In other words, it’s senseless to apply for a visa,” it said.

Aeroflot “may be forced to stop (flights) because the crews are experiencing growing difficulty in obtaining American visas,” the statement said.

State news agency Tass cited the company as confirming visa problems, but didn’t give details.

The ministry said the recent closure of the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg shouldn’t have affected visa waiting times.

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